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BBC captures tale of two Claires
Date posted: 21 May 2018
If you tuned into BBC Radio 4’s Listening Project, which profiled a number of conversations about ‘The Power of Dance’, you may remember the first podcast that featured two women who have devoted themselves to Eastbourne Dance Space
Claire Chritou (left) and Claire Tabraham celebrate their Arts Award of the Year

The two women interviewed, Claire Tabraham (right) and Claire Christou (left), are in fact People Dancing members and they shared their passion for dance as an inclusive and welcoming activity, where people of all ages, abilities, body shapes and dance experience feel encouraged, nurtured and able to learn and progress without judgement. Their BBC interviewer was so inspired that she booked herself into some of their classes and has since become hooked. 
Both Claires (T&C) talked openly and honestly on air about how dance had dragged them out of some difficult places in their lives and how they wanted to share the inspiration dance had given them with others. They said how thrilled they were that their classes had inspired people to step out of their comfort zones and perform, giving opportunities to people who never thought they could achieve such things. They also delighted in the way class participants were forging friendships, both inside and outside classes. 
“I was determined to create an inclusive, encouraging and welcoming organisation that was dedicated to bringing the enjoyment, health and well-being benefits of dance to as many adults in the local community as possible,” says Claire T, who established Eastbourne Dance Space in January 2015, having recently moved to Eastbourne. 
Claire T was quickly joined by Claire C, a dance graduate who had responded to an advert to join her in delivering classes in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz and contemporary, as well as dance for Parkinson’s (Claire T has completed an online learning programme and Summer School course with People Dancing and Dance for PD?). Both Claires are experienced, qualified ISTD teacher-trained practitioners. 
The studio soon began to establish itself as a not-for-profit community dance organisation that provides access to dance sessions for young to older adults, becoming Eastbourne’s only dedicated dance studio for adults. Classes were initially held in a rented studio in the town centre but it wasn’t long before a bigger space had to be found to accommodate 150 participants enjoying 12 classes a week. 
The studio’s first ever show, a sell-out over two performances, was held in November 2017, when audiences were greatly impressed by the event, the community spirit and the inclusivity of the organisation. Other smaller local dance groups were also given the chance for some of their adults to perform, creating an opportunity for them to join with the studio where they may not have been able to put on a show themselves.  
The studio also offers workshops, theatre and cinema trips and the Claires were thrilled when the studio won the Arts Award of the Year at the Eastbourne and District Community Awards, announced at a glittering awards night, in May this year, at the Cavendish Hotel.   

A very proud Claire C says: “Through our classes and performances, dancers are given a new confidence, not just in dancing but in other areas of their lives, too.” 

Claire T agrees: “A wonderful community of people has been created that immediately puts people at ease and allows them to come and enjoy friendship and develop their love of dance.”

That’s got to be a story worth listening to. 


You can click here to catch ‘The Power of Dance’ from BBC Radio 4’s Listening Project